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Body Condition Indices Predict Reproductive Success but Not Survival in a Sedentary, Tropical Bird

Milenkaya, Olga, Catlin, Daniel H., Legge, Sarah and Walters, Jeffrey R. (2015). Body Condition Indices Predict Reproductive Success but Not Survival in a Sedentary, Tropical Bird. PLoS One,10(8 - Article No. e0136582).

Document type: Journal Article
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IRMA ID 81144320xPUB90
Title Body Condition Indices Predict Reproductive Success but Not Survival in a Sedentary, Tropical Bird
Author Milenkaya, Olga
Catlin, Daniel H.
Legge, Sarah
Walters, Jeffrey R.
Journal Name PLoS One
Publication Date 2015
Volume Number 10
Issue Number 8 - Article No. e0136582
ISSN 1932-6203   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-84942918097
Total Pages 18
Place of Publication United States of America
Publisher Public Library of Science
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DIISR)
Abstract Body condition may predict individual fitness because those in better condition have more resources to allocate towards improving their fitness. However, the hypothesis that condition indices are meaningful proxies for fitness has been questioned. Here, we ask if intraspecific variation in condition indices predicts annual reproductive success and survival. We monitored a population of Neochmia phaeton (crimson finch), a sedentary, tropical passerine, for reproductive success and survival over four breeding seasons, and sampled them for commonly used condition indices: mass adjusted for body size, muscle and fat scores, packed cell volume, hemoglobin concentration, total plasma protein, and heterophil to lymphocyte ratio. Our study population is well suited for this research because individuals forage in common areas and do not hold territories such that variation in condition between individuals is not confounded by differences in habitat quality. Furthermore, we controlled for factors that are known to impact condition indices in our study population (e.g., breeding stage) such that we assessed individual condition relative to others in the same context. Condition indices that reflect energy reserves predicted both the probability of an individual fledging young and the number of young produced that survived to independence, but only during some years. Those that were relatively heavy for their body size produced about three times more independent young compared to light individuals. That energy reserves are a meaningful predictor of reproductive success in a sedentary passerine supports the idea that energy reserves are at least sometimes predictors of fitness. However, hematological indices failed to predict reproductive success and none of the indices predicted survival. Therefore, some but not all condition indices may be informative, but because we found that most indices did not predict any component of fitness, we question the ubiquitous interpretation of condition indices as surrogates for individual quality and fitness.
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Additional Notes This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Description for Link Link to CC Attribution 4.0 License

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